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Wound Care

Wounds can occur in many different ways: bites from animals, injury from objects, falls, scratches, lacerations and so on. In all cases, wound care by first aiders is about primarily stopping blood loss and secondarily preventing infection. Blood loss is the most important thing to sort first, preventing infection comes with long term management of the wound.

Management

If the bleeding is severe

2) lay casualty down (manage shock)

3) Remove or cut clothing to expose the wound.

4) Apply firm direct pressure or instruct casualty to do so if possible.

5) If casualty is unable to apply pressure, apply pressure using a pad or your hands (use gloves if available).

6) Raise and rest the injured part when possible.

7) Apply a pad over the wound if not already in place and secure with bandage – ensure pad remains over the wound.

8) If bleeding continues, leave initial pad in place and apply a second pad over the first and secure with a bandage.

9) If bleeding continues replace second pad only.

10) Seek medical aid. Doctors should examine open wounds for tetanus or other serious infections.

For minor wounds (minor bleeding)
For grazes, small cuts the main focus is to minimise the risk of infection and promote healing. Minor wounds should be cleaned.

2) Create a clean area in which to work. Wash your hands and put on gloves. Wet the gauze swabs with the normal saline and clean the wound.
* First rinse wound with saline to remove any obvious debris
There are three separate actions in cleaning the wound:
* With a wet gauze, wipe the furthest section of the wound from top to bottom once only and discard used gauze into rubbish bag.
* With the second wet gauze, clean the middle section using the same method.
* Then with the third gauze swab, wipe the portion nearest to you, again, using the same method.

3) If the patient is not allergic or sensitive consider using an antiseptic solution such as Chlorhexidine to further clean the area.

4) Apply a non adherent dressing covering the whole wound.

5) Safely discard gloves, gauze and any other contaminated material. With small volume on a bushwalk, scrunch up all material in a hand, remove that glove turning it inside out to encase all containmated material. Then do the same with the other hand/glove. Carefully squeeze out exesses air and tie the glove closed. Put in a snaplock bag and dispose of in your rubbish bag.

Even if the wound is cleaned well, there is still a risk of infection as the wound heals. Patients should continue to change the dressing regularly (once per day) or if it gets dirty or wet.

Monitor for infection. Signs and symptoms of infection include;
* localised pain,
* redness,
* swelling,
* offensive smeeling discharge, and
* the wound not healing.
If there are signs of infection then seek medical attention.